We’re fascinated by the various reactions of those artists who pioneered the “shoegaze” sound in the 80′s and 90′s. While they seem split, we have a firm belief. Great songwriting makes for brilliant music, regardless of the genre. While the effects pedals or the production of the song may exactly replicate the sound of a band you’ve heard before, it’s the assemblage of notes that makes any song stand out.
Which brings us to The Arctic Flow. Songs veer from ethereal beauty to pop delicacies while maintaining an dream-like quality (watch us deftly avoiding adjectives like; icy, chilling, etc….) that leaves you with a disconcerted smile…..just the way we like it.
Brian Hancheck is the one-man show behind this avalanche (oh crap, we did it anyway didn’t we….) of sound.
TDOA: Can you talk about the challenges of this being a solo project? Do you enjoy being able to control all the parts or do you occasionally wish for outside contributions by adding people to the project?
AF: I guess the biggest challenge is when time is a factor, trying to get everything recorded in such a short time can be crazy. In the past when I used to play with other bands, the challenge was communicating my ideas to others. It’s much easier for me now and it just works. I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but I can’t see it any other way.
On the other hand, I have a couple of projects that I am collaborating on with some other artists, but it’s mostly just a one time thing.
I do wish I had someone to help me on vocals sometimes. You know, someone to sort of coach me along. But, yeah, I enjoy being able to do this on my own. It suites my personality really well.
TDOA: It’s easy for writers to make the ‘shoegaze’ association, but the shoegaze movement had a lot of different types of bands. Can you talk about the bands that have influenced you the most?
AF: Well, I knew the shoegaze thing would come up. Strange enough there seem to be two schools of Arctic Flow fans, the ones that like the more shoegazy things, like “Sentiments and Artifacts” and ones that like “Untill December”-they’re just pop songs, but with different production. “Until December” which was on the Holiday Records Pop Music Compilation Volume 2, is more Smith’s like guitar pop, without all the haze. So now it’s like having two styles, but I enjoy it. It’s just the way the songs come out. The next release is going to more guitar pop, than the last EP was.
But to answer your question, and I could fill a book, but obviously The Cocteau Twins and Slowdive are two huge influences. The Cure is my favorite band ever, even though I don’t really sound like The Cure. But The Smiths, Map, Chapterhouse, My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Starflyer 59, The Beach Boys, and recently Horseshoes and Victory VIII, have been great influences.
TDOA: We’re guessing that most of your songs start with guitar melodies and build from there. Is that accurate and talk us through the songwriting and recording process.
AF: I don’t so much write songs as build songs in the studio. Usually it starts with a melody in my head or just a line, a few words, or something. But in the studio I’ll have a drum part and just start with a rhythm guitar and just layer from there. It can be hard to just have something simple, I like to fill up all the tracks I can, but there have been a few songs, like “Too Late To Say I’m Sorry” that have like two guitar tracks.
But once I get the backing track I’ll ride around with that for a few days and come up with lyrics. Other times I’ll write an actual song on the guitar, but that doesn’t happen often.
TDOA: Have you played live and has there been consideration of putting together a full band?
AF: I played one show a few years ago opening up for a band inside the House of Blues restaurant, it was ok, just me and an acoustic guitar. Didn’t translate well.
But no, I don’t play live. I don’t have the time anymore to put together a live band being a family man and all. Plus the music scene in Myrtle Beach is a complete joke. I get requests here and there and would like to play some festivals and things if I was invited. But as for now, The Arctic Flow is just a studio project.
TDOA:The artwork on each of your releases have been really tremendous. Who has done the artwork for each and how much do you contribute to the process?
AF: I am so glad you asked about the artwork. I am a firm believer that the artwork is such a major part of an album. My friend, Jacob Graham, from Holiday Records does all the album art. It is a passion he has. I think he does all the album art for all the Holiday Records releases. He will just listen to the music and then send me what he comes up with. It is always brilliant and I am so happy to have come in contact with him and the whole Holiday Records crew. It’s like a family.
TDOA: What’s the long-term goal for The Arctic Flow?
AF: The Arctic Flow will be around a while. The luxury of what I do is that I can record what I want when I want with no pressure. Everyone at Holiday is so laid back and lets me submit music at my pace. It’s a great situation to be in. Everyone has been so great.
We have a new release coming in December and 2010 is wide open. We’ve put out two EP’s and a single so far and would like to release a full length at some point.
To learn more about The Arctic Flow, visit their website here.